The Blending Train

Beginning Reading


Temetka Smith


Rationale: Blending is putting together individual sounds smoothly to make words. It is an important part to becoming a skillful fluent reader. This lesson is designed to help children to learn to blend sounds. It is focused on the short vowel sounds of e = /e/ and i = /i/, however it can be used for other short vowels as well. It will help students to become more aware of blending in spoken words through visuals or pictures. 



·        Book: Red Gets Fed (Educational Insights)

·        Velcro letter cards (Index cards): e, i, b, c, f, g, h, l, k, m, n, p, r, t, w

·        (Blending Train) A poster board with a large train carrying three carts. Velcro each cart

·        Class set of letter tiles for each student

·        Class set of Elkonin letterboxes

·        Velcro picture poster, bulletin board with tacks or a pocket chart containing: pig, big, wig, bed, hen, kid, lip, pet, fig, fin, pin, wet, red, net (You can have as many pictures as you want) (Optional: Tricky pictures: cat, mop, dog, can, map)



1.     Introduce the lesson by explaining what is blending. Today we are going to talk about blending. Blending is when you put all the sounds in a word together smoothly. It is important that you know how to blend so that you can become a great reader. Review short vowels sounds. e = /e/ like a creaky door and i = /i/ like sticky icky glue. Show the various correspondence pictures and ask if they can think of words to go under each sound.

2.     Ask students: Have you ever put together a train set and you had to connect each part to make the whole train. Blending is the same way. You have to connect the sounds of letters to make a word. For example, if I have the word pet. Put the word pet on the blending train. Say p-e-t. What word am I saying? Pet. Very good. P-e-t (pointing to each letter). Model as many words as needed.

3.     Give each student their letter tiles and Elkonin boxes. Say: I am going to say more words in a funny way and I want you to think about what the word may be. P-i-g. Repeat slower: ppp-iii-ggg. Now look at the picture board. Ask students to raise their hands if they know the mystery word. Call on a student to come up and take that picture off of the board. What is the mystery word? Pig. That’s correct. Very Good. Now I want you to make the word pig using your tiles and boxes. Walk around to see if it is being done correctly. Model blending the word pig on the blending train. P-i-g (Pointing to each letter). Do as many pictures that time will allow.

4.     Have students to practice blending using the letter tiles. Now I’m going to show you a picture and say the picture in a funny way. Then I want you to make the word by yourself. Show a picture of a wig. Say w-i-g. Make the mystery word. Ask what is the mystery word? Wig. Very good.

5.     Read Red Gets Fed in small groups. Make a list of some words from the book on the board. Say the words in a funny way. Have them to tell you what the word is. For example: rr-ee-dd. Continue to model by pointing to each letter while saying the sound. What is the mystery word I’m saying? Red. Good Job!

6.     For assessment, say more words in a funny way, but do not use pictures to give a hint. Have them to say the words back to you or make the words with letter tiles. Walk around to see who is catching on and who needs a little more help. Then say more words, but have students to write them for individual assessment.



Reference: Eldredge, J.L. (2005). Teaching and Decoding: Why and How/2nd Ed. Ohio: Pearson Education, Inc. pg. 62-63 & 79.

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